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Eleven Long Beach Football Alums Make NFL Rosters

As expected, last Saturday’s NFL cut-down date was a hectic and chaotic experience, with more than 1,000 NFLers losing their jobs. Because the league eliminated their intermediary cut-down date this year, many NFL teams dropped close to 50% of their roster over the course of a day or two.

After the dust settled? It looks like Sundays are going to have a distinctive Long Beach flavor once again. Eleven players from five Moore League schools made an NFL roster, including seven from Long Beach Poly, which has more NFL alums than any other high school in the nation. In addition to those seven, rookie JoJo Wicker was cut by the Redskins but signed to their practice squad, making eight Poly alums drawing an NFL paycheck this season.

The eight Poly alums in the NFL have a combined 48 years of experience and seven Pro Bowl appearances, a remarkable feat for a public high school.

That group is led by Jurrell Casey, coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, entering his eighth year in the league, all with the Titans. Casey was voted a captain by his teammates over the weekend. Marcedes Lewis is the biggest name in the “changing places” category, entering his first year with the Green Bay Packers after 12 years with the Jaguars. JuJu Smith-Schuster splashed onto the scene as a rookie last year, and will enter this season with much higher expectations for his performance.

DeSean Jackson is entering his 11th year in the league, suiting up for the Buccaneers. Jamize Olawale made the roster with the Cowboys, where he’ll play his seventh NFL season this year, but first for a team other than the Raiders. Jayon Brown joins Casey on the Titans, where he’s moving closer to a starting role at linebacker.

Kaelin Clay had one of the craziest cut days of anyone in the NFL and continues to perservere throughout a journeyman experience. Clay was waived by the Buffallo Bills, but was one of the few players let go on cut day to be picked up by another team, signing with the New York Giants, who he’ll suit up for this weekend to start his fourth year in the league.

Randall Goforth won a Super Bowl on IR with the Eagles last year and didn’t make an NFL squad this year–he has signed a deal with the Alliance of American Football, a new CBS venture that will feature eight pro football teams playing in the spring immediately after the Super Bowl, running through the end of April.

Jordan alum John Timu caught a rough break on cut day as he was a surprise release by the Bears. Because Timu is in his fourth year and is now a vested veteran, he is not eligible for the Bears’ practice squad. If Chicago suffers an injury at the linebacker position, look for them to re-sign Timu. Jordan alum John Ross had a difficult and disappointing rookie season with the Bengals and said last week that he’s excited to get back on the field.

WIlson’s Joel Bitonio is signed with the Browns through 2022 and looks to solidify their offensive line this season.

Compton’s Datone Jones made the Cowboys roster but was put on injured reserve with a knee injury. Lakewood alum and NFL rookie Matt Pryor made the Eagles as a backup lineman. Millikan’s Alden Darby is in Canada playing for the Argonauts in the CFL, where he’s become a valuable starter.

Here’s the complete list:

Long Beach Poly

Jurrell Casey (Titans, 8th year), Marcedes Lewis (Packers, 13th year), DeSean Jackson (Buccaneers, 11th year), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers, 2nd year), Jamize Olawale (Cowboys, 7th year), Kaelin Clay (Giants, 4th year), Jayon Brown (Titans, 2nd year), JoJo Wicker (Redskins practice squad, 1st year), Randall Goforth (AAF, 2nd year)

Unsigned: Gerard Wicks, Hayden Hunt


Joel Bitonio (Browns, 5th year)


John Ross (Bengals, 2nd year)

Unsigned: John Timu (4th year)


Datone Jones (Cowboys IR, 6th year)


Matt Pryor (Eagles, 1st year)

Unsigned: Josh Fatu (1st year), Jeremy McNichols (2nd year), Darius Powe (3rd year)


Alden Darby (Toronto Argonauts/CFL)


Unsigned: Josh Fatu (1st year), Matt Boesen (1st year), Bryan Braman (8th year), DeQuan Hampton (1st year)

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.